Zeven Ways to Kill Your Lover
Division Eight 1: Zeven Ways to Kill Your Lover
Finalist in the Brava Novella Contest
by L. Shannon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Released: May 17, 2009
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Editor: Catherine Snodgrass
Formats available: HTML, Adobe PDF,
MobiPocket, Microsoft Reader
Also available at
Zeven had a simple plan. Get the contract, kill the mark
and protect werewolves from being exposed to the humans
and hunted to extinction. But when the mark turns out to
be the woman who stole and then broke his heart, everything
changes. With Harley back in his sights, Zeven has a whole
new plan—keep her from running, keep her alive and convince
her to accept werewolves and be his mate.
To Harley, nothing about Zeven or his life is simple. And the possibility of a future for them together seems impossible, especially since the local clan of werewolves wants her dead and Zeven is all that stands between her and her escape from the Las Vegas territory. The stubborn homicidal shifter is determined to be heard out even if it costs them both everything.
But if there is a chance for them, Zeven and Harley will have to take on the whole rabid clan and settle a lot of history between them. But will he be able to forgive her for abandoning him ten years before? Or will she run again, unable to face the killer he’s become?
"Zeven Ways To Kill Your Lover was an intense action story with hot sex between Zeven and Harley. The different scenarios that both of them came up with and then shot down gave the book its title. I enjoyed reading this book as there were several unexpected twists and the back-story of how Zeven became an assassin." Literary Nymphs, 4/5 nymphs, Thanks Amazon Nymph "L Shannon, is in my opinion, a fantastic writer who gives her readers a really wonderful story with great characters. This story is not only a hot romance between two ex-lovers who have a lot to overcome before they find their happy ending, this story is also a real adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. L Shannon has built a world where werewolves live among humans and it is not a good thing when humans find out about them. They will not be around for very long. L Shannon writes a story where emotions run deep. She brings forth a whole kaleidoscope of feelings that will have the reader gasping, squirming and holding her breath. If you enjoy shapeshifter stories, with larger than life characters and a plot that has you scrolling frantically, then pick up a book by L. Shannon. I guarantee you will not regret it. " Love Romances & More, Thanks Valerie "Overall, L. Shannon has written a story that is good if you want to relax with a simple paranormal tale." Fallen Angel Reviews, 3 angels, Ashley
(*WARNING* Adult language. Consider yourself warned.)
“Will it be a problem, hunting outside your territory?” The animal hating prick tried to stare him down, but failed, turning back to the papers stacked on his desk after only a couple seconds.
Zeven Ochoa kept his face bland in spite of the human’s insulting behavior. The dumb fuck should have better sense than to act dominant even if he was the employer in this deal. How did Donnelly even survive among the Coyote Clan?
He’d been trapped in the man’s antique filled office for only ten minutes and he was already willing to kill the bastard without a second’s regret. The acrid scent of the human’s hair dye and perfumed body made him yearn for sunshine and bare sand.
But this was business.
“Never been a problem before.” Why would crossing territory borders bother him, when none of the nearby clans gave a shit what or who he did. Alone, he wasn’t much of a threat. At least he wasn’t to anyone except his targets. Donnelly would know that, so why was he dicking around, wasting time? “If that’s all…I have people to kill.”
The tap-tap-tap of approaching heels was paired with the scent of an angry wolf bitch. That would be Sheila Donnelly. The double doors of the office slammed open making Jack Donnelly jump and then shrink just slightly in his seat. The female marched into the room. Her hands slammed down on the desk and she growled. “Who are you sending to kill the witness, Jack? There is too much at risk for you to try and cut corners with this particular job.” Her angry voice fell with every word.
Donnelly’s body language screamed submissive, which was wise for a human facing an angry wolf, even if he was married to her. He stayed seated when being challenged and avoided eye contact completely. When he spoke it was quiet and without looking up from the folder he was organizing. “I have employed the best.”
She made an angry snorting sound and spun about on her heels, no doubt intending to storm dramatically out of the room, to hire another independent contractor and see to the job she thought her husband had failed to handle correctly. But the motion, that turned her away from her husband, brought her face to face with Zeven. She lurched to a stop, gasping and clutching at the collar of her elegant blouse.
People tended to react to him that way. He twisted his mouth into a mockery of a smile.
She stumbled backward bumping into the desk. “Oh!”
Donnelly calmly shuffled his papers. “Does the professional I’ve hired meet your approval, dear?”
“I had no idea.” She took a breath, drawing it into her lungs, savoring it like only a wolf could do. Recognition flared and her gaze hardened, turning calculating. “Indeed, you have done perfectly. I’m sure the clan’s little problem will be set right in no time, perhaps even more than one problem.” Her back straightened. One hand fluttered up to her coiffed hair before she reined in the impulse.
Zeven almost laughed at the female. She was so typical. The first reaction was always fear. The second for most women and some men was to flirt. The third and by far the smartest reaction was to flee.
Mrs. Donnelly fled, even if it was with a controlled swishing walk from the room.
Her husband stood and rounded the desk. He didn’t make the mistake of approaching Zeven. Instead he casually held out a thin folder and a thick envelope. “I think you will find everything as you requested. All the information I have on the doctor is in the folder. And the first half of payment, ten thousand, is there as well.”
Zeven claimed the target info and money without a word.
“I understand you are the best. You should know that this target is a threat to us all.” Donnelly said “us” as if he was one of them. The damn fool wasn’t and obviously never would be. “She can prove the existence of werewolves and has threatened to expose the evidence to the public. She has to be eliminated and any evidence recovered or destroyed.”
He gave a short nod and left, making his way out the side entrance. The new information did put a new spin on the situation.
Even though the Donnelly couple set him on edge, exposing werewolves to the public did merit an execution order, one he’d carried out a few times before. Not that he had much love for his own kind but he wasn’t keen on being hunted by a bunch of racist nuts either.
On the other hand maybe the hunters would start with Donnelly and his crazy wife. He wouldn’t be working for them again. The human’s pretentious attitude grated even after only one meeting. How did a human end up leading a werewolf clan anyhow? If he was fit to mate, then the bitch should have bound her magic to the human and brought him fully into the clan. Instead he remained human and clearly submissive. Maybe he was no more than a toy for her but if that was so then he shouldn’t be allowed the appearance of control. The whole thing was just fucking weird.
From the side entrance he skirted around the house to avoid a gardener and a couple young men lounging in the back yard.
His reputation allowed him to ignore most social norms among both humans and wolves which was a very good thing since he had so few manners to begin with. Thank God an assassin couldn’t be expected to follow rules.
Once he was out of the stuffy house, he slid into his ‘72 Charger and fired the car to life. The Charger was a lovely thing, as well as his only business partner. While most of his kind had family and clan all he had was the meticulously restored, dark green metallic Charger. He dropped a Godsmack CD into the player of the newly installed stereo system and roared out of the gated drive, heading for home.
Or in this case, the local motel. He maneuvered out of the exclusive suburbs onto the 515 and back toward the heart of Las Vegas. He wouldn’t be heading all the way to casino central, but rather to one of the many smaller hotels tucked around the edges. The motel would smell of humans and all their usual trash, concealing his own presence perfectly. It would suit his needs but couldn’t be called a home. He didn’t have a real home. All his possessions fit in the trunk and other than a couple changes of clothes the rest consisted of weapons.
Well, clothes, weapons and an ass-big bag of cash.
This hit was just one in a long line of successful business transactions. He was the fucking best at what he did and even easy jobs brought in good money. There were times he pushed back the guilt and appreciated his success. Then there were others like now when he couldn’t look past the assholes who where hiring him. Was this doctor really a threat to their entire werewolf race? Or had the damn fool just gotten in the way of a greedy man?
He settled the folder onto seat beside him. Time to see the face of the mark. A single look and he’d know if this one deserved this fate. Not that innocence would save the poor bastard. Nah, he’d finish the job either way. He’d just have more fun if the mark was a dreg of society.
The car rumbled along, passing the rest of the civilized world. With the window down and the bass way up, he could revel in the drive. But then, he always loved a ride with the Charger.
Traffic slowed. Zeven raced the Charger past the Sunday drivers while flipping the folder open to reveal a twenty-nine year old blonde, named Harley Walters.
He punched the brakes to avoid crushing a stopped Buick, then swerved around to pass on the median. The picture wasn’t labeled and a glance through the folder showed no ID besides “Doctor H. Lex” which damn sure hadn’t been the girl’s name ten years ago. Had she changed her name? Had she married? Was she married still? Did he give a fuck?
Just the same, his fuckin’ mark was also his former lover, the same woman he’d killed his entire clan to protect. The same woman he’d been hunting for ten years.
“Son of a fucking bitch.”
* * * * *
Harley Lex knew she was in shock and was completely helpless against the biological response. Her breath came too fast, too shallow. Her heart raced. Her vision tunneled down to just the gruesome picture in her shaking hand. For a long second, she stared, gradually making sense of the image. It showed the brutalized remains of the two people she’d left behind to be killed the night before. Two friends from the hospital who’d been murdered in cold blood.
On the back were two words.
Dizziness dragged her down. She fought back the panic attack. Later. I’ll break down properly later. But at the moment that kind of weakness would just get her killed. One deep breath, then another. She needed focus and motion, to pack and run.
At least this time she’d pack.
She grabbed her UCLA duffel bag and stuffed in jeans and t-shirts. What do I need? Where will I go? She had an aunt living in Michigan, but she couldn’t risk endangering her. Where she ran to wasn’t important. All that really mattered was getting her ass away from Vegas.
At the bottom of her closet she saw the black bag and grimaced. Damn thing would finally come in handy after sitting ignored for more than five years. She jerked it free. How many times had she settled somewhere new and carefully repacked her escape bag, just to feel safe? Now she felt damn lucky for the paranoia.
The two thousand in the bag would get her out of town and she’d worry about the rest later. All that mattered now was staying alive. She gripped both bags in one hand and opened the door with the other–
–and was slammed back into the wall with a crash.
Sunshine outlined a huge man, combining dark shadow and blinding light. Her heart slammed once before she was heaved off her feet, pinned to the wall and confronted by black wrap-around sunglasses which reflected her own terrified face.
She clawed at the thick arms and kicked against the huge body. But the man’s weight crushed her to the wall.
The pressure changed, loosened. The man’s honey brown skin came back into focus.
“Oh, fuck.” The voice was familiar, from a past she’d left behind. He slammed the door and threw the wrap-arounds across the room with a vicious snarl of fury.
She met the man’s cold, pale gaze. Dear God, how did he find me? “Zeven?”
Her former lover fell on her once more, claiming her mouth, demanding the response that was too damn easy to give. She kissed him back, matching his passion, pouring her stress and emotion into the wild contact that she’d craved for so long.
Then Zeven ripped away from her lips. “What the fuck did you see?”
That brought Harley back to the moment, back to the stupidity which giving in to animal attraction would be. “Shit. I need to get out of here.” She struggled, jerking in his grasp. Zeven showing up took her terrifying day straight into FUBAR range. Now it wasn’t just the ones behind the threatening note. She had to escape Zeven and his homicidal family too.
His hands tightened on her arms, holding her in place, when she should be running. The ravaged look in his eyes tore open a wound she’d thought was healed or at least scabbed over. Why was he here? Why now, after ten years?
For one second she imagined saying, Zeven, come with me. Then her survival instincts kicked in, and thumped her ass awake. “I’ve got to get out of here.”
But Zeven, her long-lost lover, wasn’t moving.
Almost visible memories passed between them. Memories she’d love to linger in, try to reclaim if only she had more time. If only being with him wasn’t such a dangerous mistake.
“They sent me to kill you.” The growled words shattered the chemistry and memories.
The irony forced a choking sound from her suddenly dry throat. “No, it’s not possible. It can’t be your pack.” It couldn’t be the same werewolves… But same or different didn’t make much difference. It must be her fate to be killed by werewolves. Zeven’s pack hunted her for being human, knowing their secret, and loving Zeven. After five quiet years, she witnessed a werewolf bar fight and was back on the most wanted list. But why did it have to be Zeven?
The emotion drained from Zeven’s expression, leaving him still and cold, a killer. Completely different from the man she’d known.
Oh shit. “Are you going to kill me?” Getting killed by werewolves would not be a surprise, but dying at Zeven’s hands would be hell…for them both.